United States authorities have requested the extradition of longtime resident Payne Hanover after the US State Department discovered Hanover was claiming to be the US ambassador to Blacktip Island.
The self-proclaimed United States ambassador to Blacktip Island is fighting extradition this week after United States officials requested the Tiperon Island government remand him to US authorities.
“Bunch of tight-asses who can’t take a joke,” longtime Blacktip Island resident Payne Hanover said. “Sure, I have a big State Department seal over my front door, but no one with any sense took it seriously.
“It was in good fun,” Hanover said. “We’d be sitting around drinking, discussing world events, and someone’d say, ‘Hey, why don’t you put in a good word for us with Uncle Sam,’ I’d agree, then we’d forget about it by the morning.”
Some on the small Caribbean island were angry at the news.
“I always negotiated with Payne in good faith and he burned me,” said island mayor Jack Cobia. “This explains why I never made any headway with the US. I thought Payne just didn’t have the kind of diplomatic stroke he said he did.
“It puts me over a barrel, what with the promises I’ve made in the community based on his say-so,” Cobia said. “And I’m out hundreds of dollars for all those US visitors visas. I’d love to chuck the rat-bastard on the first plane to Miami.”
Legal professionals say the case is not so cut and dried.
“To start with, there’s no extradition treaty between the United States and the Tiperon Islands,” said Ferris Skerritt, of the Skerritt and Skulkin legal firm. “And even if there were, no laws were broken. It’s not illegal to call yourself an ambassador.
“The State Department knew about Payne, but didn’t care,” Skerritt said. “What got their feathers ruffled was he sent in a joke request for Blacktip Embassy funding. Some low-level flunky rubber-stamped it and feces hit the props. But it wasn’t like Payne cashed the check or anything.”
Local law enforcement say they won’t honor the request.
“Payne hasn’t violated any Tiperon laws,” Island Police Constable Rafe Marquette said. “Jack tries to ship him off island, Jack’ll wind up in jail himself.”
Many locals were upset by the developments.
“Payne’s had that seal up forever. We took it as classic Royal Payne exaggeration,” said resident Clete Horn. “Hell, before he was the US ambassador he was the ambassador from Ohinkey, with flowing robes and everything.”
Others were more concerned with practical implications.
“Payne throws blow-out parties with dignitaries and celebrities all the time,” resident Jerrod Ephesians said. “Now, with the diplomatic budgeting season on us, him getting busted means no gala embassy fêtes this year,” Ephesians said. “That’s a bummer. They really gave an air of civilization to the island.”
Hanover, meanwhile, remained defiant.
“Just because I’m not technically the ambassador’s no reason for me to close the consulate,” he said. “I’m still hosting the New Year’s Eve bash. Rafe Marquette’s the guest of honor.”
Hanover would not comment on allegations of suspicious activities in his bank accounts.
The US State Department would neither confirm nor deny the allegations.